Carey Salzsieder

Carey SalzsiederClass of 2019

BA, Human Development
Warner Pacific College, Portland, Oregon

What did you do before law school, and what led to you pursue a law degree?

Prior to enrolling in law school, I spent 12 years working as a 911 police dispatcher. A desire to help people has been a passion of mine as long as I can remember, and dispatching was a unique experience that allowed me the opportunity to provide support, encouragement, and direction to people during a time of crisis. The job was full of ups and downs, feelings of success and failure, but it was rewarding in as many ways; I valued being a support in the vulnerable moments of a person's life.

However, while my job was done when I hung up the phone, I realized the individual who called 911 was often just at the beginning of legal proceedings, in a justice system they often knew little about.

My interest in a law degree began when my supportive role, while necessary, started to feel limited in the bigger scope of justice for the individuals I spoke to. Being a voice over the phone and sending a police response was no longer enough. I wanted to support people in a bigger capacity — to advocate for them, help them address their issues, and to reach a conclusion. Obtaining a law degree became imperative to reaching my goals.

What activities are you involved in at the law school or in the community?

I am involved with Women's Law Caucus, Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, Future Prosecutors for Social Justice, and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Board. I assisted with, and attended, the annual Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) auction, which raises grant money for students interning in public interest law. I competed in the Moot Court 1L Mock Trial, finishing in the top 16. I have attended multiple King County Bar Association CLEs and events to learn about different areas of law, and network with practicing attorneys.

What have you found most valuable during your law school education?

During my law school education, I have found being involved with student boards and organizations has been valuable for me to make connections with peers and upperclassmen outside of the classroom, to build friendships, and create a support system.

I have found also found it valuable to meet with professors outside of class to seek feedback and exchange ideas. Sometimes things move quickly in class and I may have missed a concept or need further clarification, and meeting one on one with a professor has proven to be beneficial to my understanding of the subject matter and my professional relationship with him or her.

Additionally, attending panels and networking events has been valuable to gain perspective on the law school experience, as well as gain insight into future careers, and areas of law I did not realize existed.

What advice would you offer a prospective law student?

Before starting school, meet and engage attorneys and law students! Law school is a big undertaking, and while you are passionate when you start, often doubts start to creep in when things start getting tough. So I recommend preparing yourself mentally and emotionally for the realistic challenge of school by talking to those who have gone through it or are currently enrolled. Ask questions, listen, take notes; while some suggestions won't make sense, or maybe aren't relevant yet, you'll get some jewels that will resonate, and you will also build connections with people you can reach out to when you need some encouragement.

During school, remember to go easy on yourself. There is a big learning curve and it is a struggle for everyone, despite what you will hear. There is no one "right way" to succeed in law school. By all means, seek suggestions, take advantage of resources available to you, but ultimately, you have to do what works for you. It will feel like you take more time, or less time, to study than your classmates, but the comparison has no bearing on your grade and ability to learn. Whatever works for you to learn the material, is what you should do; ignore anything to the contrary.

While in school, your time is limited, with much of it spent at school or studying, but be sure keep the connections to the people and activities in your life that existed prior to law school. Self-care is important, and finding time to connect with those that love and support you, and participating in activities that you enjoy, will help ease the stressful transition, and challenge of law school. It is all about finding your balance.

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